Re: Nietzsche on Feminine and Masculine Love.
- There is a fear that pervades woman's life: the fear of being raped, murdered, and/or tortured by man. And the context in which Nietzsche coins the phrase "the Eternal-Boring about woman" is this:
"Woman has so much reason for shame; in woman there is concealed so much pedanticism, superficiality, schoolmarmishness, petty presumption, petty unbridledness and petty immodesty--one needs only to study her behavior with children!--which has fundamentally been most effectively controlled and repressed hitherto by fear of man. Woe when the 'eternal-boring in woman' --she has plenty of that!--is allowed to venture forth! When she begins radically and on principle to forget her arts and best policy: those of charm, play, the banishing of care, the assuaging of grief and taking lightly, together with her subtle aptitude for agreeable desires!" (BGE 232.)
So according to Nietzsche, it is fear of man that has hitherto ensured that woman strive, or at least keep striving, for complete surrender to man. And with this, I come to something I've been wanting to say since right after I wrote the first post in this thread. In that post, I wrote:
"Does the 'shame and terror' Nietzsche discerns not suggest that she's merely doing what she believes is her duty? Is she not merely obeying the sense of duty instilled in her by society, e.g., by films and books? Is her understanding of love, which is love as described in films and books, not her ideal as opposed to her reality?" (Message # 532.)
"Shame and terror"... How did I fail to be reminded, while writing that first post, of my posts on aidôs? Thus in a thread which is probably together with its sequel this group's best thread yet, I wrote:
"[Aidôs] is shyness, a form of fear." (Message # 282.)
"I contend that aidos [...] is at bottom shame for one's weakness." (Message # 334.)
Fear is the negative aspect of the will to power. Compare the Greek word phobos, which means "hate" or "fear", but may in compounds like "hydrophobic" be best translated as "repulsion". The positive aspect of the will to power is attraction to what we love--whatever gives us a feeling of power--, while its negative aspect is repulsion from what we hate--whatever gives us the feeling of an absence or lack of power. Now in those two probably best threads of this group, I came to the following anti-intuitive but logical conclusion:
"If we contrast the will to be terrible with the will to please, the corresponding contrast is between the will to strengthening and the will to weakening. Why should anyone want to become weaker? Because one thereby becomes more pleasing. Thus the will to weakening is a means of the will to please, and therefore the will to strengthening is a means of the will to be terrible. And the will to please is a form of the will to power: by being pleasing to him, woman wills power over man. Therefore the will to be terrible is the corresponding masculine form of the will to power." (Message # 242.)
We can now finally see why precisely the will to please is the corresponding feminine form of the will to power. For woman's will to please man follows from her will to renounce herself for him: it is her longing for complete devotedness that drives her to devoting herself, to putting herself to devoting herself, to feigning complete devotion or surrender, to being "so artistic":
"Comparing man and woman in general one may say: woman would not have the genius for finery if she did not have the instinct for the secondary role." (BGE 145, entire.)
But why would woman want the secondary role? Why does she want to renounce herself for man, devote herself to man, surrender to man?
"In [Flaubert's book] Salammbo, the male principle (Moloch) rules officially, although the unofficial, but actual, deity is the female principle (Tanith). Unless given this official priority, Moloch's wrath would oppress Carthage and not her enemies." (Neumann, "Liberalism's Moloch".)
How does the weaker sex prevent itself from being raped, murdered, and/or tortured by the stronger? If sex is consensual, it's not rape; and if a woman consents to sex with a man, he will probably protect her from rape by other men (I'm not saying that this is a conscious consideration, by the way: thus Nietzsche says woman has the instinct for the secondary role). What's "given" to woman, what's woman's foremost "reality principle", is man's will to possess her, in the first place physically:
"In regard to a woman, [...] the more modest man counts the simple disposal of her body and sexual gratification as a sufficient and satisfactory sign of having, of possession; another, with a more jealous and demanding thirst for possession, sees the 'question mark,' the merely apparent quality of such a having and requires subtler tests, above all in order to know whether the woman not only gives herself to him but also gives up for his sake what she has or would like to have--: only thus does she count to him as 'possessed.' A third, however, is not done with jealousy and desire for having even then; he asks himself whether, when the woman gives up everything for him, she does not perhaps do so for a phantom of him: he demands that she know him to the very heart before she is able to love him at all, he dares to let himself be unravelled--. He feels that his beloved is fully in his possession only when she no longer deceives herself about him but loves him as much for his devilry and hidden insatiability as she does for his goodness, patience and spirituality." (BGE 194.)
- When, at the very end of my second post in this thread, I spoke of "adoring [woman] for her sincere passion for passion, and blessing her for the silliness of her feeling half empty", I was not thinking of the truth or nature at all anymore, but only of a specific--and very special--human female I know. And yet, it beautifully applies to the truth or nature as well. For if nature is will to power or, to use the Platonic word, erôs, is it not, at least insofar as it is eros for non-imaginary things, eros for eros?And is not even all imagination informed by reality? Meaning that even such flights of fancy as the Platonic Ideas are images of eros? As William Blake said, "Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth." (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 8.)
Thus far nature's sincere passion for passion. And as for her feeling half empty: is that not what Nietzsche's early metaphysics says she--or it--does? As I wrote in message # 481:
"The Primordial One [i.e., nature as a whole] has Being (as opposed to 'Becoming') and suffers from it. This suffering is a suffering from over-fulness, over-joyedness: the Primordial One aches for lack and woe. It therefore imagines a world of Becoming, lack, and woe. This imagined world, this vision, is not outside It, but It is immanent to it: it is the world as we know it--the world we are a part of. The world as we know it is an imaginary self-fragmentation of the Primordial One; we are really only imaginary fragments, and only have reality in being one with the Primordial One."
The imagined lack I spoke of there corresponds perfectly with said felt half-emptiness (total emptiness would correspond with absence, not lack). And contrary to what I thought for years, I don't think there's an absolute break between Nietzsche's early and mature metaphysics; I think Nietzsche's mature metaphysics can only be truly understood, if not by virtue of understanding his early metaphysics, then at least by virtue of what has for me been the key to understanding his early metaphysics: the first section of his "Attempt at a Self-Criticism":
"Is pessimism necessarily a sign of decline, decay, degeneration, weary and weak instincts--as it once was in India and now is, to all appearances, among us, 'modern' men and Europeans? Is there pessimism of strength? An intellectual predilection for the hard, gruesome, evil, problematic aspect of existence, prompted by well-being, by overflowing health, by the fullness of existence? Is it perhaps possible to suffer precisely from overfullness? The sharp-eyed courage that tempts and attempts, that craves the frightful as the enemy, the worthy enemy, against whom one can test one's strength? From whom one can learn what it means 'to be frightened'?"
Genuine philosophers, in the Nietzschean sense, are those whose supreme beloved is the truth, or insight into the truth--i.e., insight into the true overfullness underlying the apparent emptiness of existence. And this truth, this "verity" (die Wahrheit) is like freedom, "liberty" (die Freiheit), in the following way:
"Those large hothouses for the strong--for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known--the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers..." (Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, "Forays of an Untimely Man", aphorism 38.)
Mere knowledge of the true overfullness of existence will not do; we must have the insight, the realisation. And this realisation must be achieved again and again. In Platonic terms, we must raise ourselves, or be raised, from the Cave again and again. As William Blake puts it:
"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern." (MHH, Plate 14.)
It is at this point, by the way, if not at others as well, that I seem to disagree with Nietzsche. For Nietzsche says:
"What [...] is the law and belief with which the decisive change, the recently attained preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious, God-inventing spirit, is most clearly formulated? Is it not: the world, as force, may not be thought of as unlimited, for it cannot be so thought of[?]" (Nietzsche, The Will to Power, section 1062.)
I contend that the world, as force, may not be thought of as limited either, as it cannot be so thought of! For we would have to think of such a world as "enclosed by 'nothingness' ['das Nichts', "'the nothing'"] as by a boundary", as Nietzsche puts it in section 1067; but we can think of "nothingness" as little as of infinity! And indeed, does not "enclosed by 'nothingness'" really mean "enclosed by nothing", i.e., "not enclosed by anything"?...